Unique King James Bible offered at $18,000 through Bonhams

A unique copy of the famed King James Bible is expected to bring strong results at the Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale in San Francisco on October 10.

King James Bible
The title page of the magnificent first-edition volume

The King James Bible was first published in 1611 by the Church of England, as the third official translation into English. The example at auction was published in 1613 and is an exquisite third folio edition, which was once housed in the illustrious collection of Alfred Sutro, former president of the Book Club of California.

It is thought that the book is the only extra-illustrated copy to feature a large and "mystical" fore-edge painting by the revered bibliophile John T Beer, prompting Sutro to commission a pamphlet in 1938 celebrating the volume.

A fore-edge painting is one that is painted on the edges of the pages of a book, so that it can only be seen when the pages are closed. John T Beer is the only fore-edge artist from the 19th century who is known by name. He created an array of the paintings during his lifetime, which can be seen in a 2006 book on his life by Jeff Weber.

A magnificent work, the King James Bible at auction provides a fantastic opportunity for collectors to add a unique example of a renowned book to their shelves at $12,000-18,000. First-edition copies of the work sell for similar prices, with one example making $14,400 in February 2011.

You can read the results of this sale here.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has an incredible collection of rare books and manuscripts currently on offer. Our Henry VIII personal divorce plea marks the beginning of one of the most significant events in British history and one that changed the Church forever.


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